Starbucks has outlined a series of bold “science-based” targets aimed at dramatically cutting its consumption of carbon, water and waste during the next decade.
The move, revealed in a public letter to all company stakeholders from CEO Kevin Johnson, is set to have a clear impact on the way Starbucks manages its kitchen operations over the coming 10 years.
“As we approach the 50th anniversary of Starbucks in 2021, we are looking ahead with a heightened sense of urgency and conviction that we must challenge ourselves, think bigger and do much more in partnership with others to take care of the planet we share,” Mr Johnson wrote.
The company’s aspiration is to become “resource positive” – storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste, and providing more clean, freshwater than it uses.
Starbucks has set out five key criteria that it believes will contribute to an improved environmental footprint through reduced carbon emissions, water use and waste across its stores and supply chains.
This includes expanding plant-based options, which will involve migrating toward a more environmentally friendly menu, shifting from single-use to reusable packaging and investing in innovative and regenerative agricultural practices, reforestation, forest conservation and water replenishment in its supply chain.
It also plans to invest in better ways to manage waste to ensure more reuse, recycling and elimination of food waste, and develop more eco-friendly stores, operations, manufacturing and delivery.
By 2030, Starbucks wants to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions in direct operations and supply chain, and for 50% of water withdrawal for direct operations and coffee production to be conserved or replenished.
It is also targeting a 50% reduction in waste sent to landfill from stores and manufacturing, driven by a broader shift towards a circular economy.
Mr Johnson said that in 2021 – its 50th anniversary – it would “formalize” its 2030 environmental goals based on learnings between now and then.
Over the next year, it has pledged to carry out comprehensive market research and trials to better understand consumer behaviour and incentives to encourage more use of reusable containers.
Ray Silverstein, VP of store development at Starbucks, said the objectives will lead to meaningful change.
“With today’s announcement, we are even more energized to have science-based strategies to guide us in setting priorities and accelerating this work. Whether it’s reducing our environmental footprint in our stores, in our supply chain, or through our ability to engage our communities – we will have new ways to focus our efforts to make the greatest impact.”